Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Caste System and Women's Human Rights (2) by Bilkis Olagoke

On further research on caste system and its hindrance to women's rights in particular, I observed that caste system is practiced not only in India and Nigeria but also in other countries like Pakistani, Sri-Lanka, Korean, Japan and even Yemeni. 
Unfortunately, caste system is still attached to culture, superstition, religious and ethnic beliefs. Fear of punishment also played an important role in its existence. 
While caste system in some countries are well known and still in practice for example Indian, some are no longer in force. But in Nigeria, caste system also known as "Osu" has gone underground but it is still in practice, most especially, when it comes to marriage between an outcast "Osu" and a freeborn. The penalty is very severe, ranging from disinheritance and  dissolution of marriage among others. One common attribute that persists despite official rulings against this system is the existence of an "outcast" group. 
This type of classification-I mean the "outcast" group whether they are Dalit in India, Bura Kumin in Japan, Baekjeong in Korea or Osu in Nigeria (practice in the eastern part of the Country), they have suffered discrimination through out their history. 
There is a need to look critically into the caste system as it affects women, what has been done so far and what other measures should be put on ground to alleviate the pains and sufferings of women most especially the "outcast". 
Let's us all rise up and call for the abolition of caste system in our societies with adequate protection of our rights by all stakeholders, State governments inclusive. Let's hang the slogan on our walls, "We Are All Equal, Our Rights Should Not Be Violated."

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